Preparing for the job market

Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark” – Richard C. Cushing

It is a natural phenomenon everywhere that any individual who does not put his hands (abilities, knowledge, capabilities, talents) to use, suffers the likelihood of being a pauper.

People who fail to put their abilities, knowledge, capabilities, or talents to active use are often christened, “lazy” and not hardworking. Diligent individuals wouldn’t want to be associated with such people.

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It is in this light that most people from all walks of life seek to work assiduously to enable them to put food on the table, pay the fees, and settle the bills and some debts.

While some move out to various companies within the private and public sectors, others try to make a conscious effort to put their entrepreneurial skills to work by creating something themselves.

Whichever path one would take, there’s one thing that pops up which is extremely important: PREPARATION.

Good preparation before entering into the job market gives an individual advantage, boosts confidence levels and erases every trait of fear, doubt and uncertainty. Below are some tips that might help you prepare adequately.

Study the job market. Find out what jobs are “hot” right now and which are not. This can be done by researching by using online search engines, such as Hotjobs.com or Craigslist.com.

Not only will you have a better idea of the jobs and careers that are hot now, but you will also know what employers are looking out for in potential candidates. For instance, if you’re going into publishing, potential job offers in that field will state what they’re looking for in terms of requirements and experience.

Bear in mind, “hot” doesn’t necessarily mean highly competitive. A highly competitive job market will make it harder for you to get your foot through the door. “Hot” can also mean a new field that is opening up in the job market.

These types of careers are ripe for fresh recruits. Check with your career counseling center at your school to determine what careers will offer the best opportunities for you and your career goals.

  • Do an internship. Internships not only give you valuable work experience, but they also provide you with contacts and references when you enter the job market. Though education is important, potential employers are much more impressed with a job applicant who has had real experience in the workforce. It gives them a sense of your strengths and potentials as a worker.
  • Use your contacts to find work. Contacts can be anyone. They can be people you’ve met while interning, or they can even be family members. For instance, a family member can be useful in searching what companies are hiring. This can be a great way to know about immediate job openings.
  • Know yourself. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses as a potential employee. Get a clear assessment of your worth in the job market. This will help you better articulate what you have to offer to potential employers as you interview for jobs. It will also give you a chance to capitalize on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Sometimes, in order to get a job, you’re going to have to break out of your box and try and experience new things. Getting a clear assessment of your strengths and weaknesses allows you to determine what you need to work on first before you schedule your first job interview.
  • Learn how to write a good CV (curriculum vitae)/resume. This is the opportune time to learn (if you’ve never attempted to write one) or perfect your writing of a good CV/resume. A winning CV/resume will always get a potential job candidate through that first hurdle: the job interview. There are plenty of books and websites online that can help you build the perfect, attention-getting CV/resume. The most important thing to remember while building your CV/resume is to always put your best face forward. You want to attract attention, so highlight your strengths (work or educational experience or volunteering) upfront.
  • Attend job fairs and career seminars. Attending job fairs or career seminars help prepare you in diverse ways once you enter the job market and give you an indication of what to expect. Learn how to do a job interview. Find out what you should or shouldn’t say during an interview, how to dress, what type of questions to ask and any pre-interview preparations you should do (for instance, researching the company where you’re applying for work).
  • In putting up a structure (for example, a building), the state of the foundation will determine how the structure is going to last or how strong it will be. Just imagine what would be the fate of a soldier who is not well prepared before battle or an athlete, before the start of a major event, or more still a student before the start of an exam. Your guess is as good as mine. You need to spend more researching into a whole lot of stuff-some outside of your domain-and involves hard work. Your level of preparation would enable you to make that positive mark for yourself and impress wherever you go. Brace yourself and get ready to do some serious preparation. Finally, don’t forget the Supreme Being. No matter the faith you belong to, commit your ways into Him and He would definitely see you through.
  • READ ALSO: Pleasure, pride…pain

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